Practical Entrepreneurial Advice from a 12-Year-Old

January 23, 2021 in Success Stories

Throughout this story, I will be sharing practical entrepreneurial advice that will help you succeed. The five main points I’ll share throughout this post are still serving me today. I am still applying them, refining them, and using them to grow my businesses. I encourage you to do the same! Here we go. 👇


I was an awkward kid. How so, you ask? Well, for starters, I awful at school, I couldn’t play musical instruments, I wasn’t good at sports, and even video games weren’t my specialty.

When you’re a kid growing up in the 90s, and you’re not great at least one of those things, you were AWKWARD. 😝

From the ages of 9-12, I struggled to fit in when I realized that I wasn’t like other kids in the neighborhood or even my brothers. (I know what I’m sharing isn’t uncommon. Most kids probably go through the same thing at this age.)

Thankfully, when I was 12 years old, I discovered something about myself. I was great at sales, business strategy, and identifying market needs. My discovery was my entrepreneurial mind!

I know what you’re thinking now, “12 seems like a young age to learn something like this…” And you’re right!

My entrepreneurial journey all began when I saw some kids selling lemonade on the side of the road one day. I asked my dad if I could do that too. He kindly agreed to help me get started the following weekend.

(1) Practical Entrepreneurial Advice: When you see something you want to do in business, try it! Test it. Don’t devote a lot of time, but see what you can make out of it. Act quickly, don’t do a lot of planning. Get your feet wet as soon as you can. (At the same time, stay focused if you’re already on the right path.)

🎶 LISTEN TO THIS: What Starting Ugly Means and Why it Matters

While I was selling lemonade for the first time, in my mind, I knew other kids were selling lemonade in the neighborhood; honestly, it was probably the same stuff we were selling. The margins seemed low to me, even at the age of 12. “There has to be a better way to make money in this neighborhood.” As people were pulling their cars over to the side of the road to pay 25 cents for a quick cup of lemonade, something unexpected happened.

About 100 yards behind me, my roadside lemonade stand was the 7th tee box of the neighborhood golf course. One of the golfers saw the lemonade stand and wanted some, so he drove his cart over and made a quick purchase. He enjoyed the lemonade so much he asked, “What else do you have?” 🤔

(2) Practical Entrepreneurial Advice: When your customers begin asking for more from you, you need to create more for them. What they are telling you is that they are fans of your creative work. Continue to serve them in more ways as long as it stays within your niche. (Again, keep what you’re doing focused.)

🎶 LISTEN TO THIS: The Framework for Earning More Paying Clients

These words hit me like a ton of bricks. “Why don’t I have anything else?” I thought to myself. Then, the brainstorming began.

I immediately relocated the lemonade stand to the 7th tee box with the plan to expand to pink and yellow lemonade (Very ambitious, I know!) Our sales immediately increased. People in cars could fly by and not think twice. Also, many people were already in a rush. However, the golfers always stopped because they had to tee off, and they had plenty of time while they were waiting for other golfers to get off the fairway. 🏌

(3) Practical Entrepreneurial Advice: Be willing to pivot. Make changes to serve your ideal audience better. It’s rare to get this right when you initially launch something. Stay flexible, willing, and able to adapt quickly, as you better learn about your avatar. (Your ideal customer)

🎶 LISTEN TO THIS: 4 Steps to Effectively Pivot your Business

The business was good. But I wasn’t happy. I had three things running through my head.

What 12-year-old Alex Sanfilippo was thinking about:

#1. I knew the margins were too low for what we were doing to be worthwhile. Yes, mom paid for the lemonade mix, so it was ‘all profit’ for me, but deep down, I knew I wasn’t making any money, especially if I ever wanted to pay mom back.
#2. If I ran out of lemonade, I could not re-supply without a 3rd party vendor’s support. (Also, mom.)
#3. The same question that the golfer asked me echoing in my head, “What else do you have?”
As I was standing there, cute as a button, selling lemonade but thinking about what else I should be doing, it finally hit me. I had another product idea.

As I was standing there, cute as a button, 😇 selling lemonade but thinking about what else I should be doing, it finally hit me. I had another product idea.

You see, golf is a sport that only a handful of people in the world are actually good at. Translation: about 50% of these golfers were hitting balls in the water. “What if,” I thought, “I could collect and sell these used golf balls back to golfers?”

Fast forward to the following weekend, selling used golf balls became a huge hit. I was no longer a fine drink salesman (instant-mix lemonade); I was now the founder of a used golf ball sales business!

(4) Practical Entrepreneurial Advice: Always think long-term, always think scalability. You must exercise your strategic mind if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. Never get comfortable with what you have or where you are. Always think about growing the business and moving it forward into a better future.

🎶 LISTEN TO THIS: Fix This Next to Grow Your Business

From there, sales grew. I needed more inventory if I were to keep up with the demand that was coming in. I quickly realized that continuing to grow this business would not be possible on my own. Without help finding golf balls in the lakes, cleaning them, and even selling them, I’d never be able to grow the business. So I came up with a model for paying other kids to help me. I recruited my brother and other kids from around the neighborhood.

To end my story, while most 12-year-old kids were probably making $5.00 – $10.00 on a Saturday morning selling lemonade, we would bring in $100.00 – $200.00 in just a few hours every Saturday morning. Each of us was making an average of 300% more than other kids in the neighborhood. Not bad, right? And it sure beat watching crappy cartoons! 📺

(5) Practical Entrepreneurial Advice: Think WHO, not WHAT. Many of us stunt the growth of our businesses because we focus on WHAT we need to do. But our mindsets need to shift to WHO. “Who can handle this instead of me?” Instead of “Here’s what I need to find the time and a way to do.”

🎶 LISTEN TO THIS: Everything You Need to Know about Hiring a Virtual Assistant

In conclusion, here are the most important things to remember: You have to be flexible, always ready and willing to pivot and change your plans. If you cannot quickly make changes or you’re unwilling to, then you’re not a real entrepreneur. You cannot do all the work. Start thinking about delegating from day one. If you stop growing because you’re doing too much, you’ll never truly succeed as an entrepreneur.

What an Unopened Bottle of Champagne Taught me About Celebrating Life

October 8, 2020 in Success Stories

The date was December 8, 2018. I was given a very nice bottle of champagne. My wife (Alecia) and I agreed that we would open it when we had something significant to celebrate. Whether that would be celebrating life, or celebrating the wins from one of our businesses, we knew we wanted it to be something good!

Alecia is great at celebrating the small wins and big wins. I, on the other hand, am not. I often forget to celebrate altogether. When I have a small win, I view it more as just another task completed. When I have a big win, even something like launching PodMatch.com or having my podcast reach the top 20 in the entrepreneurship category, I view it as a step to an even bigger goal.

Listen to This: Setting Goals and Thinking Bigger for Your Life and Business

As a full year had gone by, I still had that bottle of champagne sitting there, waiting for “the perfect win” to celebrate. Occasionally, Alecia would bring it up, “When are we going to celebrate something with this bottle of champagne?”

My responses were always the same, “When we complete that next big thing!”

So there I was, well into 2020, still have not celebrated anything. At this point, this bottle had been sitting on my minibar for a year and a half. Then it hit me…

This bottle of champagne had become a physical representation of an internal issue.

You see, 2019 was a great year for me.

  • I received much recognition from my aerospace job.
  • I received a sizable bonus that year.
  • My blog, DailyPS grew substantially and the team of authors surpassed 100.
  • I launched Creating a Brand and found immediate success with it.

Even among all of these great wins, I continuously told myself, “When I reach that next milestone is when we will bust open this bottle of champagne.”

The problem is this: That next milestone just became another achievement, not a celebration. Every. Single. Time.

Let’s take launching Creating a Brand for example. I launched the business, launched the podcast, launched my courses, saw success with all of them. The podcast even reached the Apple top charts one week! (Number 197 out of all 700,000 podcasts.) Shirley, this would be enough to celebrate, right?

Wrong – And don’t call me Shirley.

I mentally filed each of the things I mentioned above as another milestone or slight achievement. But nothing worth celebrating.

I’m going on a little bit here, but do you see my point? There’s always something else to achieve. Always another goal, always another target.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Life will pass you by. You have to decide to celebrate everything, even the little things.

My wife and I sat down to have a “come to Jesus moment” where she brought all of this to my attention. At that same point, we decided on what next goal we’d celebrate. What we decided on still doesn’t seem like a huge goal to me, but I’m sure that’s just because I still have much to learn on this topic.

The goal: Have PodMatch.com reach 1,000 members. WE DID IT!

Alecia immediately launched that cork across the room as I covered my eyes and one other delicate body part (TMI, sorry)

As we held two glasses to cheers, she said something I won’t ever forget: “Cheers to the small wins!”

Friends, I encourage you to celebrate your progress in life and in business, even if it’s small. Remember, life is about meaning, not about achieving more and more until one day you are no more. So enjoy the journey, and stop to take in the view!

Cheers to the small wins!

How to Become the Wealthiest Person in the World

August 27, 2020 in Success Stories

Bill Gates was first announced as the wealthiest person in the world back in 1995. For those who don’t know, 1995 is the same year that the first Toy Story movie was released. So, naturally, at that point in my life, I was more focused on figuring out if my toys came to life while I was out of the room. (My research was inconclusive.)

Bill Gates was not born into his wealth. In fact, he comes from relatively humble beginnings, as you may have seen in the Netflix documentary, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. For this reason, Bill is the perfect example of a self-made billionaire.

I’ve always been fascinated by Bill Gates. So, I decided to spend time studying his achievements and journey in life. During my research on the life of Bill Gates, I made a discovery – He has left a clear path that others can follow. He’s not kept any secrets along the way. If one wishes to become the wealthiest person in the world, Gates has left a map for anyone to follow. I have found five primary skills that one must acquire to achieve great levels of wealth and success.

Five essential skills that lead Bill Gates to become the wealthiest person in the world:

  • Clarity
  • Focus
  • Execution
  • Partnership
  • Service

Once these essential skills are understood and implemented into your life, everything you do will succeed more as a direct result. This is exactly what happened to Bill Gates, and it can become your story as well. Let’s dive in!

Five essential skills that explain how to become the wealthiest person in the world:

#1. Clarity

Decide what you want to do in life and why you want to do it. Then stand by it. Live by it. Figure out your purpose. Clarity is the first step to becoming a wealthy person. Without clearly knowing where you’re going and why you’re going there, you’ll fall apart along the way.

If you want to create an exceptional life of success, it’s going to take clarity. Bill Gates isn’t the only one who talks about the importance of clarity. In fact, I believe that any highly successful entrepreneur is going to tell you that clarity comes first.

Here’s a podcast episode on the topic: The Power of Clarity and Why It Matters

Clarity begins with self-reflection. Sit down with a notepad, put away your phone. Think about the past, think about the future, and ask yourself tough questions. Then ask yourself, “WHY?” questions about what you’re telling yourself you want until you get to the foundation of your ultimate reason for being who you are and desiring to do what you want to do. (Deep stuff, I know!)

#2. Focus

Bill Gates has been quoted, saying, “I built the world’s largest business in 9 months.” You and I know that Bill Gates’ achievements took much longer than 9 months. However, when you study what he’s built, the entire foundation of his business was created in 9 months back when he was in his early twenties. He literally locked himself in a room, only stopping to eat, drink, and occasionally sleep. During that time, he was focused and built what today is the largest company in the world.

Ultimately, Bill Gates said focus is what caused him to succeed. It’s something we all need to get better at.

We live in the most distracted time in all of history. Perhaps social media is to blame. Or smartphones, but either way, many of us lack the ability to focus in a way that previous generations did not struggle with.

It’s going to take self-discipline for you to overcome distractions, but if you want to succeed, learning to focus is something that you must learn to do. For more on this topic, check out this post I wrote about time-management titled, ‘5 Simple Ways to Begin Taking Control of Your Time Today

In addition, this podcast episode will teach you to overcome distraction in your life: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

#3. Execution

Execution is the ability to get the things that matter done faster than anyone else. Bill Gates succeeded because he was able to execute the most important tasks, no matter how big they might have been.

This is where people struggle the most. We look at a massive task to undertake and don’t even know where to begin. So, we either make very slow progress or don’t make any progress at all.

Here’s a short video I recorded on the topic of execution:

How to execute big tasks:

You have to figure out how to take apart complex tasks and break them down into comprehensible goals. Think big picture, then work your way down to the small important things that need to happen.

The Great Wall of China was an impossible task to complete. Yet, the Chinese succeeded because they executed what was most important. Setting one brick down at a time. Over time, executing the act of setting one brick down at a time created what we know today as the Great Wall of China.

Find that next brick you need to lay to get closer to achieving your bigger goal. Remember, execution is key to succeeding!

Here’s a podcast episode about Amazon made it happen: How to Grow Your Business Like Amazon

#4. Partnership

Find the biggest, wealthiest, most influential player in the space you’re entering that is willing to partner with you.

Bill Gates said one strategy that he uses to build his business was to attempt to form relationships with the best of the best. Here’s Bill’s simple formula:

  • 1st Step: identify the people who are the best of the best in the field you’re wanting to get into.
  • 2nd Step: reach out to them asking to partner/work together.
  • 3rd Step A: if they say yes, be ready to work for them. Don’t expect as much as you give.
  • 3rd Step B: if they say no or don’t respond, don’t get down about it. Simply go to the next best person and repeat the process. If they say no as well, continue down the line until someone says yes.

Relationships matter. Having a tribe, or community around you is going to help you go further in life and in business. I’m writing this blog post because I have the right relationships in my life.

If you think you’re missing some key relationships to help you excel both personally and professionally, I want to encourage you to check out three podcast episodes that will serve you well today. (Do not underestimate the power of this skill!)

#5. Service

Do everything in your power to serve and help others succeed in their own lives. If you ever watch anything about Bill Gates, he does everything in his power to help everyone around him succeed. He puts the basic needs of others above himself. He helps people who need help. Bill Gates is known as someone who gives everything.

If you’ve ever heard a podcast episode where I was the guest, you’ve probably heard me say this line:

“I seek to be a person of value, not a person of profit.”

Many of my friends laugh because if they are doing an impression of me, this is one of the lines they’ll use. But, I love that. Because it’s become who I am at my core. If you’re doing what you do for yourself (selfishly or from a place of self-service) then you will never succeed.

The people that achieve the most in life are the ones that are focused on adding value to the world around them, not themselves. Keep this in mind, no matter what it is that you’re doing.

Conclusion

Becoming the wealthiest person in the world won’t happen for all of us. However, if you are one who has this deep desire to walk down this path, the map has been placed before you. If you can grasp the power in these five essential skills, you will have what it takes to become the wealthiest person in the world.

How Creating a Brand Became a Top 20 Entrepreneurship Podcast

July 23, 2020 in Success Stories

This blog post you’re about to read comes strictly from a place of humility and a desire to help others achieve the same outcome. I mention the stats below as credibility, not from a place of bragging. This is my story of how I created a top 20 Entrepreneurship podcast on Apple and how you can do the same.

I’m going to quickly share some screenshots and timelines with you of our post launch, just for credibility and so you understand the timeline. THEN, we’ll get into the details of HOW we made it happen.

Creating a Brand Podcast Launched 07/02/2019

We launched the Creating a Brand podcast after recording the entire first season, 13 episodes. Please note: We had a very small audience, including social media following when we launched.

Featured by Apple 07/11/2019

Within two weeks after launching, Apple featured us in the New & Noteworthy section on the Business category for 8 weeks. Which is the maximum amount of time a podcast can be featured in this section.

Featured by Apple 07/13/2019

Within two weeks after launching, Apple featured us in the New & Noteworthy section our sub category, Education. It stayed featured here for close to two weeks!

Top-100 Business Podcast 07/16/2019

Exactly two weeks after launching, the Creating a Brand Podcast reached the Top-100 Business Podcast list!

Top 20 Entrepreneurship Podcast 09/19/2019

A couple of months later, the Creating a Brand Podcast reached the Top-25 Charts in the entrepreneurship category!

Creating a brand the top 20 entrepreneurship podcast

Apple Top Charts (All Podcasts) 09/21/2019

Then, it happened. The Creating a Brand Podcast reached the Apple Top Charts for ALL podcasts! (#197 out of #200, but still, what an honor to be on this list!)

Top 20 entrepreneurship podcast and featured on the top charts

Our Current Ranking: Today

The Creating a Brand Podcast continues to be a top rated entrepreneurship and business podcast; focused on helping other succeed! We now sit among the top 2,000 podcasts globally at any given time, and on Tuesday’s, when we post new episodes, we see a spike.

Creating a brand the top 20 entrepreneurship podcast on apple


Now for what you came for…

6 points that explain how the Creating a Brand Podcast became a top rated podcast AND how you can do the same.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I do not have a large social media following (or massive group of friends) I leveraged a small audience to yield massive results. When celebrities launch a podcast it ‘automatically’ becomes top rated because of their audience. I didn’t have anything like this. In fact, my audience today is still very small.

Alright, I’m glad we got that out of the way…. Onward, my friends!

POINT# 1: Figure out your plan and strategy.

Although I do not recommend waiting long to start your podcast, or even as long as I did, it will cause you to become more successful.

It all started back in 2018…

In December 2018 I decided it was time to go all in with an idea for a podcast. I knew that I wanted to go beyond just my blogging content and this was the direction I wanted to take. Here is Creating a Brand’s pre-launch timeline starting in January 2019:

  • January – Planned the name, the idea and the idea for the podcast.
  • February – Started learning the tools I would need to make it happen.
  • February – Recorded my first episode then began scheduling more.
  • March – Searched for more guests and recorded with a few.
  • April – Launched the website
  • May – Recorded with the final group of guests that would make up the first season.
  • June – Mastered and organized the season and planned the launch strategy.
  • July 2nd 2019 – Podcast launch date!

For more on each of the items above, how I made this happen, how I landed big guests before I had a podcast and many other things, check out this completely free course (I don’t even want your email address).

A 9 Step Guide for Launching a Successful Podcast

A 9 Step Guide for Launching a Successful Podcast

POINT# 2: Copy what others have done.

If you want to launch a top rated podcast, this second point is really the only thing you need to do. So pay attention here.

If you’ve followed me for any time at all, you’ve heard me use this quote from Tony Robbins:

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”

The first thing I did to launch what ended up becoming a top 20 entrepreneurship podcast on apple was follow the success plan.

I learned everything I could about launching a successful podcast from people with large podcast who did it wrong, and from other coaches who did it right. The point is, take it seriously! Put time and energy into it.

I pulled elements from top-rated podcasts.

I started listening to every top rated podcast that seemed to fit the mold for what I wanted to create. Then I pulled the best elements from each show to create what became, the Creating a Brand Podcast.

If you’re serious about launching a top rated podcast, take a look at this course that I offer, How to Launch a Top 100 Podcast.

The Course That Teaches You How to Launch a Top 100 Podcast

POINT# 3: Intentionally leverage the audience you have.

Remember my first point, that entire planning/strategy phase? Well, during those 7 months, I TOLD people about what I was doing. I was getting them “warmed up” for my launch. Throughout this time, I helped share hundreds of people’s content and with small projects. When the day came that I would ask for something, they were all ready.

The day I launched, I had hundreds of people on my side, ready to share my newly published episodes. Here’s what I asked of them:

  • Please listen to my new podcast.
  • Leave a 5-star rating and a review on Apple.
  • Share it with 3-5 people that you know it would add value to.
  • Ask those 3-5 people to leave a review on Apple AND send it to 1-2 people that they know would benefit from hearing it.
  • Please share my announcement of the podcast launching post on your social media

POINT# 4: Focus on adding value every chance you get.

After this, I focused on getting my episodes in front of everyone that I believed they would help. And I mean everyone. I did searches on social media for the topics I was covering, I sent the episode to people in a value adding (not saley) way.

I had time to do this because I had focused on getting my entire season recorded and scheduled before I ever launched. So, this allowed me to really spend the time getting the content out to people.

POINT# 5: Get connected with other podcasters.

This is the point that I wished I would have done sooner. I wish that I would have connected with other podcasters SOONER. This means a few things.

  • Be a guest on podcasts before starting your own. (PodMatch.com is the single easiest/best way to get booked on podcasts.)
  • Attend podcasting conferences. (My favorite is Podfest, they are always doing something!)
  • Join a podcasting network. (Get yourself into a community. Check out the PodMatch Community, it’s a great place that hundreds of podcasters call home.)

POINT# 6: Never stop hustling.

When I published this blog post, it was just after I finished up the 1 year anniversary episode, which I encourage you to listen to. One of my main points was to keep hustling. Do the things that you don’t want to do but that you know will grow your audience.

I’ll end this post with a quote from Jerry Rice,

“Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t”

So… This is how Creating a Brand became a top 20 entrepreneurship podcast. I hope that this information that I shared serves you well today. If you have any questions at all, I’d love to have you join the PodMatch Community. Once you join, shoot me a direct message and we can chat through your questions!